Monday, September 23, 2013

Movie Review: "The Grandmaster" (2013)

Movie: "The Grandmaster"
Director: Kar Wai Wong
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
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Another story about Ip Man, Wing Chung master and the man who trained Bruce Lee. It covers the span of his life from being an instructor in southern China, through the Japanese invasion of China, and his subsequent relocation to Hong Kong where he headed a school to teach martial arts to the masses.

There have been multiple movies before "The Grandmaster" covering Ip Man (Tony Leung) that are done better than this one. The trailer is slightly misleading, promising much more action and a bit less drama, when in reality, this movie is 90% drama, 10% action. Much of the drama comes from the relationship between Ip Man and the Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang). The story of Gong Er occupies the last third of the film, leaving Ip Man as a footnote towards the end of the movie. All of the action in this movie is completely over-stylized, consisting of overdone slow motion, tight shots of bolts popping out of scenery with every blow...these tight shots hide much of the actual action going on. The director seemed more concerned with making pretty scenery shots than actually driving a coherent plot or making and interesting story.

The biggest mystery is why, with the slow motion, the director also overused a shaking camera in 99% of the movie. It's a subtle shaking, but enough to make your eyes tired from watching all the unnecessary movement, almost like the film was shot faster and digitally slowed down, causing a weird vibration of the camera.

Overall, this movie tries very hard to be something substantial, to tell an interesting story, and it just falls flat. It's a pretty shell with no substance, a movie void of plot, over-dramatization, and an incredibly slow moving pace.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%
Do we recommend this movie: No. Just watch "Ip Man" instead.

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